“It’s an open love letter to Jean Paul,” Olivier Rousteing said before his Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture show. “He’s someone who was ahead of his time. Today, we talk about diversity, we talk about inclusivity, we talk about breaking boundaries, we talk about no gender. Jean Paul was the first to do it.” As the third designer invited to take on the archives of JPG in a one-off collection, Rousteing knew exactly where he wanted to go first. He opened the show with a series of brilliant men’s looks based on the Spring 1994 collection. “It was inspired by ethnicities, by diversity, by inclusivity, by the non-binary. For me, growing up half Ethiopian and half Somalian, Jean Paul was someone who put a lot of inclusivity into fashion. I think we need to remind people that a lot of the fights we’re fighting today, he was there to fight them for us first.” The show transitioned into women’s looks, one more mind-blowing the other, reinventing everything from Madonna’s topless AMFAR dress to the Breton shirt, the cages and crinolines, and the iconic Le Male flacon and its metal case, which Rousteing transformed into glass bustiers, metal skirts, and shoes. “When I was a growing up, seeing my dad as a straight male with Le Male in his hand – a naked male body with a crop top – was like, wow. Jean Paul actually broke boundaries in pop culture that people didn’t even understand.” Rousteing took his triumphant bow with hugs from Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian on the front row, and a big stamp of approval from a smiling Jean Paul Gaultier, who beamed throughout the show.
Photography courtesy of Jean Paul Gaultier.